Student Spotlight: Erika Pacheco, Kendall –

Erika Pacheco, 35, spent nearly 10 years living in Mexico and almost a year living in Vancouver. While in Mexico, she attended Universidad del Valle de Mexico – Aguascalientes pursuing a degree in international relations.

Pacheco speaks Spanish and English, is conversational in French, and is learning Portuguese. She specializes in international business and has more than 15 years of experience in the field. She serves as an executive administrative assistant at an international private equity real estate investment firm. Currently, Pacheco is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from Kendall College.

What made you choose this particular school?

Pacheco: “Kendall College is part of the Laureate Network, which is an international network of universities and schools that allow students to transfer to any school within the network without losing credits or classes. I began my degree in Aguascalientes, Aguascalientes México at Universidad del Valle. In 2006, I moved back to my hometown of Chicago, and Kendall College is the college that forms part of the network.”

How did you decide on your field of study?

Pacheco: “My true passion is international relations and diplomacy, which is the original degree program I began. Kendall does not offer the same program. The equivalent is business management. I wanted to continue my education and knew that a business degree would serve me well. I look forward to obtaining my master’s degree in international relations.”

What made you choose online education?

Pacheco: “Online education offers me the flexibility I need to receive a quality education while still being able to work full time. My job requires me to work unpredictable hours. I knew that traditional classes on campus, even if offered in the evening, would not work for me.”

How do you balance your course load with your other obligations?

Pacheco: “I am very disciplined and focused. I schedule time for school meticulously so that it will not interfere with my personal life. I treat my education like a job. I have deliverables, timelines, and specific goals. I map everything out at the beginning of the quarter and work accordingly. Of course things become challenging at times. Life is not predictable. The built-in insurance for myself is that as a rule of thumb, I strive to be ahead of my deadlines so in case I have a bad day or just need a break, I can afford it without falling behind.”

Tell me about your online peer group.

Pacheco: “They are a diverse group hailing from many different cultural, social, and ethnic backgrounds. I appreciate the diversity because it fills the online classes with unique perspectives that are varied, fresh, and challenging. Kendall College is not a local school but rather a global hotspot representative of the rise of mass globalization on all levels. Throughout my years at Kendall I have learned so much about the world, thanks to the interaction with my peers. The education is two-fold, one from my courses and another from my peers.”

What do you hope to do with your degree upon completion?

Pacheco: “I have no idea. I am a rare bird in that I do not like to compartmentalize my life. I do not set specific goals only because I feel that in doing so, then I cut myself off from the opportunities that life may throw my way. I am very driven, focused, and confident. I know that I will continue to grow and be challenged in my career. I have many things I want to achieve, but I will let life throw me the curveballs and just be ready to catch them when I see them coming. Life is not about the destination but rather the journey. I will say that I plan to continue to move forward and make strides into the world of international relations on a grander scale.”

What advice would you offer other students who might be considering online education?

Pacheco: “If you are looking for an easy way out, online education is not it. Online education is a challenge. I do miss traditional classes. I do miss having interactions face to face with teachers and other students. That said, there is a tremendous sense of accomplishment and achievement that goes along with online education. Be focused, diligent, curious, and resilient. Do not make excuses. Do not wait. Take the challenge of embracing online education and make your dream of a college education come true!”

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